Expanding our ideas about 'knowledge' to inspire and connect communities
  • Last updated:
  • 19 Sep 2018

The Forum provided an opportunity for attendees to hear about other people’s stories and journeys, however Siwan Lovett provided insight into how to create our own story and use this to inspire and connect communities.

When we think about the term ‘knowledge’ we tend to think about the range of information presented to us in publications and workshops that outline how particular parts of our environment function, for example: nitrogen processes in riparian areas. The knowledge contained in these publications can be described as ‘cognitive’, that is, knowledge based on what we define as ‘rational’ or ‘logical’. We assert that people will be able to make informed decisions when they have a sound technical base upon which they can weigh various options and select the one that is appropriate to their needs.

This ‘cognitive’ approach to knowledge goes against the reality that most people make decisions on emotional rather than rational grounds. No amount of ‘fact’ can change a person’s mind if they are unable to relate to what it is you are trying to communicate. Siwan’s presentation showed how placing ‘cognitive’ and ‘technical’ information within the broader context of people’s lives makes it meaningful, memorable and more likely to attain the objectives we wish to achieve. The use of story and how powerful this approach can be for effective communication and collaboration was also explored.

If you would like to find out more about what Siwan’s topic, she has provided free resources on the Australian River Restoration Centre website. Siwan also writes a free monthly email newsletter, which you can subscribe to, that cover the things she cares about rivers, people and sharing knowledge. Siwan would love to have you join the ARRC community, so just go to the website and you can explore True Tales of the Trout Cod, Finterest, Riverspace and find the links to the newsletter.